by Pearl Brown, 04/02/2020, Traverse City, Mi
In January, when we heard the news coming out of Wuhan China, we began to prepare our household and our business. I’m the daughter of a scientist. Facts matter. I don’t just take news at face value. I watch, I listen and I read multiple sources. Nothing is accepted. Everything is questioned. “A new virus” caught my attention. The news here stateside discussed the numbers, the potential death rate as compared to the flu and argued endlessly about exactly how and where this virus jumped from animal to human. My OCD brain watched as schools were shut, communities were locked down and then an entire region of 67 million people were ordered to stay home. I had never heard of that before. That news fueled my concern. The Chinese government began building a hospital in two weeks time. What country does that for a little flu bug? They converted government buildings and schools into field hospitals. A young Chinese MD tried to warn the world and was summarily muted. We stocked up on food. Japan closed all it’s schools. When does Japan ever have a snow day much less close ALL their schools? The American media argued about passenger screening and flight restrictions. The first confirmed case in the United States was in Washington on the 21st of January, 2020. We began wearing gloves (food service ones from our business) and masks (N95’s found in the paint drawer in our garage) for every trip to town. It didn’t matter if it was a simple bank deposit or a grocery store trip, we followed protocol. We sterilized our single use masks as best we could and hung them out between uses. You see my husband is high risk.
As a result of owning a food business we are well versed in “kill steps” as they’re referred to in the industry. We followed all best practices to keep any cooties out of our home, car and business. I understood then, as I do now, the only thing you can control is yourself. So we met with our bakery employees as Korea, Thailand and Germany began extensive testing and Japan refused to allow a cruise ship full of desperate people to dock in Yokohama. We asked the entire bakery staff to limit travel to work and necessities. That’s asking alot of 20-30 somethings that have a social life. They all unanimously agreed. We met with the household. Everyone was on the same page. We stocked up on sanitizing wipes, sprays etc. We added extra kill steps at the bakery to protect customers; and we supplied our drivers with PPE and sanitizing wipes for use between each delivery. We secured 90 day scripts for the love hubs, and stocked up on pet supplies. Mind you, this is still February 2020. No one is buying all the toilet paper off of the grocery store shelves yet. No one is telling the American citizens there’s anything to be overly concerned about. But I have an at-risk husband and a food biz. We are on high alert!
On March 3rd I canceled my trip to NYC. I so badly wanted to see my daughter and her husband. But it made no sense to lock myself in small spaces in an international city potentially filled with the contagion potentially bringing the CoronaVirus back to Traverse City. I stayed home. On March 11th a member of the household arrived home from a mandatory work conference in Chicago. On March 12th as cases in Michigan slowly begin to rise my husband and I decide to quarantine out of an abundance of caution. On March 20th our household member announced a Covid-19- suspicious case under the watch of an MD. That day we moved from quarantine (only leaving for essentials) to isolation. We had no further contact with anyone outside of our home. We followed strict rules within the house in an attempt NOT to spread it amongst ourselves. Masks! Gloves! Both Martha Stuart AND Dr Fauci would have been proud. Just to be smart both my husband and I stopped having the occasional pandemic cocktail, avoided all sugar and stopped using THC for pain control. I even laid off caffeine. As a family we made sure to have elderberry, magnesium, iron and vitamin C supplements daily. Oh yes! We were going to be the Covid-19 Poster Child Family. We did everything we could to prepare our immune systems. On March 26th I had an undeniable urge to take a nap. And that is the beginning of my story which, as I type, has yet to be concluded.
All of our efforts, as smart or paranoid as they were, were no match for the tiny droplets of the corona virus that entered my body and began to multiply. At first, it was just that nap and the slightest of headaches. I wondered if it was the fact that I was cutting down on caffeine. A slight cough and post nasal drip we noticed. Well, I always have those with my allergies. The next night I awoke with cold sweats. Geez Louise! Did I eat that many edibles? Am I going through withdrawals? I made homemade mac n cheese with jalapenos and green apples. The love hubs proclaimed it was the best ever! I was really looking forward to it myself. But, meh, I couldn’t really taste it. Every little symptom could be explained away as something else until my heart started beating out of my chest when I was resting. Whenever I got up to move around it felt like I’d just completed the first leg of the Boston Marathon. Then came the tsunami of symptoms: eye pain, head pain, ear pain, deep unrelenting body aches especially in my back, chills, more sweating, dry mouth, sore throat, labored breathing, weird dreams, thick post nasal sludge, loss of smell, loss of taste, loss of appetite and exhaustion the like of which I cannot describe. The nights are exponentially worse than the days. I dread them. Today is day 8. I’m told one either rallies or tanks around day 9.
We really thought we were ahead of Covid-19. We thought we had done everything right. As it turns out we only did one thing right. We made one choice that made a crucial difference. We stayed home. We stopped it from spreading further.
My husband is still asymptomatic. We are waiting for the other shoe to drop as we look forward to antibody testing. You see, I still have no scientific proof that Covid-19 is waging war inside my body. I will tell you this. Whatever it is, it is NOT comparable to anything I have ever endured in my 53 years of life. #stayhome